Downhaul FAQ

If you are unsure exactly what you should order, below is a list of commonly asked questions that will hopefully help. If not, please contact us at as we are happy to help answer any rigging related question.

Downhaul FAQ’s
  • Why do you offer the downhaul primary line in 5mm grey but only 4mm for the coloured lines? We choose what we think are the best ropes irrespective of manufacturer. However, one manufacturers 5mm can be quite different in diameter from another manufacturers 5mm, and when spliced these differences are magnified. Our 5mm D12 is from FSE Robline, but the coloured 5mm D12 that we liked is from Gottifredi Maffioili which is a bit thicker, and when spliced just wouldn’t fit with the block we use – hence we have to use the 4mm for coloured primary lines on the downhaul.
  • You sell both 6:1 and 8:1 downhaul systems – which is best for me? The 6:1 system is best for the 4.7, radial and standard Mk1 rigs. The 8:1 is best for the standard Mk2 sail which uses a heavier cloth. If you are a lightweight sailor you may want to use the 8:1 for the radial or 4.7 rigs, accepting the tradeoff of ease of use versus more rope in the cockpit.
  • I sail both radial and the new standard Mk2 rigs – is it possible to have a downhaul system that works for both? Yes. The tack cringle/grommet on the new Mk2 sail is about 5-6 cm higher than on all the other sails, and whilst this doesn’t sound much, when it is combined with a 6:1 or 8:1 system this distance is multiplied. Our usual downhaul system fixed the primary line at the level of the kicker tang on the lower mast. One option is to use that fixing position for the radial/Mk1, and to move the fixing position up to the top of the kicker assembly for the Mk2. This reduces the impact of the difference. It can be reduced further by using a snap type caribiner on the kicker assembly such that the primary attachment point for the Mk2 is even higher.
  • Why is the downhaul primary line so thick? From a strength perspective Dyneema is so strong that we could probably use a very thin 1.5mm line, but it would probably saw into the tack cringle and would certainly get snagged in the gooseneck. Over the years the line has got thicker, as the type of blocks – such as the Harken 29mm block – can accept larger lines, and reducing the chance of it getting caught in the gooseneck.
  • Can I see the instructions as to how the systems are rigged? Yes, follow the following links: 6:1 Downhaul Installation Guide or 8:1 Downhaul Installation Guide

General Questions:

  • I am unsure of what is best for me – do you offer free advice? Yes, we offer free advice on what we feel is best for you, based on years of sailing the Laser at championship level. Just contact us at
  • You list Harken and Allen based systems – which is best? From a weight perspective, the Harken block are much lighter. From a strength and functional perspective both are very similar. The Harken blocks are by far the most popular, and are the block type supplied with new UK supplied Lasers. The Allen blocks are an excellent economical solution.
  • I like to rig my Laser differently. Do you offer custom systems? Yes. A quick walk around the Laser boat park at even a world championship will show that there is no ‘right way’ to a rig a Laser – a lot is down to personal preference, and we are happy to build up exactly what you want.
  • Do I have to have everything spliced together? The answer is no, but there are a number of reasons why we splice our systems together. For the primary lines, the fixing to the new ‘soft attach’ blocks is important that it is done correctly, as an incorrectly fixed primary line can pull apart the head of the block. For the secondary lines, particularly the smaller Harken 18mm and Allen 20mm blocks, the size of the sheave makes it difficult to thread a 4mm control line through when a 3mm primary line has already been threaded through.
  • Having a spliced system is great, but what happens when the ropes inevitably wear out? If you liked the original spliced system that we supplied we can rebuild the system using your original blocks. Just send the blocks back to us and we will replace and re-splice the lines for the listed price/metre of the ropes on our website – we can’t say fairer than that!
  • I have just bought a new Laser and I have the bag of blocks and ropes that comes with it. Can you put it all together for me? Yes, we have done this for a number of customers. The bag of ropes that comes with a new Laser can be daunting. We can turn all those ropes and blocks into a ready to fit system from just £60.
  • Can you fit your systems with other types of control line? Yes. Our standard secondary control line rope is FSE Robline Dinghy Control (which is standard on new Lasers) but we can supply most ropes that you may want. Other popular choices are English Braids continuous control line, naked 4mm Dyneema. We can also fit ropes from Gottifredi Maffioli. Some other rope types are not amenable to splicing and would be tied.

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